Coconut Curry Lentils

Lentils. They’re one of those ingredients that, for many years, had been an afterthought. But with the rise in popularity of plant-based cooking, lentils have become a staple in many kitchens and the highlight in many dishes.

Lentil trendiness excites me for many reasons, with the first being that lentils are packed with nutrition, including fiber, protein, iron, B vitamins, potassium and other vitamins and minerals. They’re also inexpensive, easy to cook, mild and they take on the flavors of the ingredients they’re cooked with.

In this recipe, lentils are immersed in garam masala, a spice mixture that contains coriander, cumin, cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon and cloves or nutmeg, as well as ginger, tomatoes, coconut and lime. After simmering for about half an hour, the lentils are perfectly al dente and swimming in a delightful curry sauce.

It’s a complete meal, made in one pot AND I included directions for making this dish on the stove top OR in a slow cooker. There’s really no reason not to cook these lentils!

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Coconut Curry Lentils

  • Author: Julie Andrews
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 30-35 mins
  • Total Time: 40-45 mins
  • Yield: Serves 6 1x
  • Category: Vegetarian
  • Method: Stove-Top


A vegetarian curry dish with lentils, coconut milk and tomatoes.


  • 2 Tbsp. oil
  • ½ medium yellow onion, peeled and minced
  • 34 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 Tbsp. garam masala
  • 1 Tbsp. ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 ¼ tsp. kosher or sea salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ cups dried lentils
  • 1 (15 oz.) can no salt added petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 3 ½ cups unsalted vegetable stock
  • ½ cup full fat canned coconut milk
  • Zest and juice of 1 medium lime
  • 1 Tbsp. honey


Stove Top:

  1. Heat oil to medium heat in a Dutch oven or large pot. Add onion and sauté 4-5 minutes or until soft. Stir in garlic, ginger, garam masala, turmeric, curry powder, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Add the lentils, tomatoes and stock and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring frequently, 20-25 minutes or until lentils are slightly chewy.
  2. Stir in coconut milk, lime zest and juice and honey and simmer another 5-10 minutes or until lentils are tender. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

Slow Cooker:

  1. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, garam masala, turmeric, curry powder, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, lentils, tomatoes and stock to a slow cooker. Cook on high 3-4 hours or low 6-8 hours. Stir in coconut milk, lime zest and juice and honey. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.


Cooking Tip: Sauté the spices in oil before adding liquid to the pot. This toasts the spices and helps release their oils, giving the dish a bolder flavor.

Variation/Substitution Tips: Try 1-2 tsp. curry paste instead of curry powder.


  • Serving Size: 1/6 of recipe
  • Calories: 313
  • Sugar: 9g
  • Sodium: 446mg
  • Fat: 9g
  • Saturated Fat: 3g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 6g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 45g
  • Fiber: 10g
  • Protein: 15g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg


  1. Kari on March 21, 2019 at 3:07 am

    I always forget how great curry is – especially love the slow cooker idea! Thank you!

    • Julie Andrews on March 26, 2019 at 6:27 pm

      You’re welcome, Kari! I am a big fan of any curry recipe, and love that this one uses lentils. It’s a quick and easy meatless option either way!

  2. Shaunna Dugstad on March 28, 2019 at 1:30 pm

    For the slow cooker directions, I’m assuming you add the lentils in with the first batch of ingredients? The recipe doesn’t specify. thanks in advance for the clarification! this sounds yummy.

    • Julie Andrews on March 28, 2019 at 1:38 pm

      The lentils go right in the pot with the other ingredients. 🙂 I hope you enjoy them, Shaunna!

  3. Kristin Fink on June 17, 2019 at 10:16 am

    The regular recipe does not specify when to add the lentils either. The only reason you know that you should have added them at some point is because the recipe says to cook…until the lentils are chewy.

    • Julie Andrews on June 17, 2019 at 7:30 pm

      Fixed it – great catch! The lentils go in after the spices and before the tomatoes, then they take about 20-25 minutes to cook. Thanks for letting me know!

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating